Review taken with permission from The Technovore.
Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a hardcore fan of horror movies. It all started with Alien and the Howling, movies I saw when I just 4 or 5. Instead of frightening me into sleepless nights, I was hooked. When I saw that Netflix’s #Alive is imminent, my curiosity peaked instantly!
After all, one of the major gripes I have about Netflix is the dearth of quality horror titles. No Ringu, no One Missed Call…hell, I’d even rewatch Howling Village at this point.
Here’s a new horror movie on the streaming service I thought! Maybe it’ll be good!
Sigh…I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.
What is Netflix’s #Alive?
Netflix’s #Alive is a horror movie set during the beginnings of a zombie outbreak. It stars Yoo Ah-in as Oh Joon-woo and Park Shin-hye as Kim Yoo-bin.
The movie starts off damn promising…Joon-woo’s (who’s in his parents’ apartment) morning is interrupted by people screaming and running. Peeking out from his balcony, he witnesses the initial carnage of the outbreak. People are running for the lives, cars are ramming each other in their haste to vamoose. Of course, in the midst of it all, are the infected, who are biting and infecting anybody they’re able to grab.
Here’s where the premise takes an interesting turn. Instead of evaculating, Joon-woo stays behind and barricades himself in his house. Suddenly, the plot isn’t like your typical zombie movie. It’s much more intimate.
The initial 30 or so mins are mostly great, with Joon-woo dealing with his fear, anxiety about his family’s safety and dwindling supplies as he’s slowly cut off from the outside world. It reminds me of Konami’s Silent Hill: The Room in some aspects, which is awesome.
However, somewhere along the way, the plot veers sharply from being interesting to a stereotypical mess. For one, the movie doesn’t even follow its own canon.
Early on, we see that a zombie beats and noshes on another zombie. That got me interested!
It’s a new spin that I’ve never seen before. Alas, that spin was completely abandoned in every other part of the movie, as we see the zombies not only ignore each other, they work in tandem!
Logical Plot? We don’t need no logic in our plot!
The plot for most of the movie is laughable too. Park Shin-hye’s character only makes contact with Joon-woo when he tries to do something (I’d be spoiling by saying what) drastic. Before that, NO effort to reach out or contact him, even though their apartments are facing each other.
At one point in the movie, Joon-woo shouts and makes so much noise the zombies come to his apartment. Apparently zombies have better hearing than Shin-hye’s character Yoo-bin because she wasn’t even curious about what’s happening.
Even the initial way Yoo-bin contacts Joon-woo is implausible.
She uses a laser pointer from her balcony that’s opposite Joon-woo’s to highlight words on hanging portraits in Joon-woo’s home. Smart right? Making noise would be a death sentence!
Then you realize that there’s NO way Yoo-bin would’ve been able to see the hanging portraits (as they’re on walls parallel to her), much less use a pointer to highlight individual words because the angle is all wrong! Unless laser pointers can miraculously bend light in Netflix’s #Alive, this is all sorts of dumb.
Things all go downhill from then on, with more unbelievable situations (a zombie climbing up a damn rope when they can barely open a door) piled on.
There’s the requisite insane survivor, situations where the two magically managed to avoid being bitten and the best of all, the ending that you can see coming from a thousand miles away. It’s so stereotypical, that I actually predicted what will happen to my wife pretty much all of the endgame.
What About the Actors and Actresses?
As somebody who doesn’t follow Korean cinema, the stars have zero impact on my opinion of the movie. I honestly don’t know who they were when I watched the movie, though I’ve since researched them after.
That doesn’t matter much…after all, you don’t watch a horror movie for nuanced acting. As long as the actors (and actresses) do a decent job, I’m fine with it.
The acting in Netflix’s #Alive? Pretty decent. I don’t have any issues with either of the main cast. That sadly, doesn’t save the movie one bit.
The Bottom Line.
I actually like Netflix’s #Alive during its first half. The movie builds up tension well, shows off Joon-hoo’s personal struggle and has a damn interesting premise.
Unfortunately, the movie wasn’t able to keep that originality as it quickly devolves into an all too familiar rhythm, one that’ll be achingly familiar to fans of this genre.
Good actors and a movie with great potential ruined by its cliched plot.
- Interesting beginning and premise.
- Decent acting.
- Cliched plot.
- Illogical at times.